Remembering the Power of the Gospel during Alzheimer’s Disease
Charles is 78 years old and there is much he cannot remember. He cannot remember the names of his children, why he lives in a nursing home, or even whether he ate breakfast today. His forgetting causes confusion, and in his fear and uncertainty he sometimes lashes out at those who try to care for him. But when someone reads a favorite Psalm he quickly joins in, reciting each cherished word. When he hears an old hymn of faith, his hand slowly raises and he breathes out each word quietly, his face reflecting a peace that passes all understanding.
Alzheimer’s disease has been described as the “defining disease” of the baby boomer generation. Millions of Americans will spend much of their retirement years either caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or experiencing its effects on their lives firsthand. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they face great uncertainty, knowing that they can expect to live their remaining years with increasing confusion and progressively greater reliance upon other people to care for them. As the disease advances it seems to overwhelm a person, narrowing their focus and leading them to forget critical truths about the Lord, their life with him, and his promises.
Through the personal stories of those affected and the loved ones who care for them, Dr. Benjamin Mast highlights the power of the gospel for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Filled with helpful, up-to-date information, Dr. Mast answers common questions about the disease and its effect on personal identity and faith as he explores the biblical importance of remembering and God’s commitment to not forget his people. In addition, he gives practical suggestions for how the church can come alongside families and those struggling, offering help and hope to victims of this debilitating disease.
If you are a Christian who knows or loves someone with Alzheimer’s disease, have recently been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease, or are a pastor or ministry leader seeking to better understand and minister to people with Alzheimer’s disease this book will encourage you with the good news of God’s faithfulness and the future hope he calls us to.
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by Benjamin T. Mast
Benjamin Mast is a Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville. He is a board certified geropsychologist, and licensed clinical psychologist specializing in aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia-related issues. He is Co-Editor in Chief of the American Psychological Association Handbook of Clinical Geropsychology (2015) and the author of three books on dementia, including Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel During Alzheimer’s Disease (2014), Whole Person Dementia Assessment (2011) and Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia (2017).